Feds: Former Joliet police officer used unreasonable force

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A former Joliet police officer has been indicted by a federal grand jury for using unreasonable force while on duty.

Thomas O’Connor, 40, was charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

O’Connor, of Joliet, is scheduled to be arraigned at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 20 before U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras.

O’Connor used unreasonable force while on duty as an officer with the Joliet Police Department on Feb. 9, 2012, according to federal prosecutors.

According to O’Connor’s defense attorney Jeff Tomczak, O’Connor responded to a disturbance at a motel in Joliet, and the incident was captured on several surveillance cameras.

O’Connor was previously charged on March, 14, 2012, with two felony counts of aggravated battery, one felony count of official misconduct and misdemeanor battery. After a three-day trial, a Will County jury found him not guilty on all counts.

“We are disappointed that the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office has decided to second-guess 12 fully informed Will County citizens who unanimously determined in less than two hours that Mr. O’Connor’s decisions and actions under extremely stressful circumstances that night were justified,” Tomczak said in statement.

“It is also somewhat disheartening for our sworn police officers to now realize that they may be subject to additional prosecution even after a jury finds their actions reasonable and appropriate,” he said. “We will begin our second defense of Mr. O’Connor next Tuesday before Judge Kocoras in federal court.”

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